Approach to deporting illegal immigrants shifted

The Obama administration is changing the federal immigration enforcement strategy in ways that reduce the threat of deportation for millions of illegal immigrants, even as states such as Arizona, Colorado, Virginia, Ohio and Texas are pushing to accelerate deportations.

The changes focus enforcement on immigrants who have committed serious crimes, an effort to unclog immigration courts and detention centers. A record backlog of deportation cases has forced immigrants to wait an average 459 days for their hearings, according to an Aug. 12 report by Syracuse University‘s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), which analyzes government data.

Among the recent changes:

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director John Morton ordered agency officials on Aug. 20 to begin dismissing deportation cases against people who haven’t committed serious crimes and have credible immigration applications pending.

• A proposed directive from Morton posted on ICE’s website for public comment last month would generally prohibit police from using misdemeanor traffic stops to send people to ICE. Traffic stops have led to increased deportations in recent years, according to Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies at the Center for Immigration Studies, a think tank whose research supports tighter enforcement.

The directive said exceptions would be made in certain cases, such as when immigrants have serious criminal records.

• ICE officers have been told to “exercise discretion” when deciding whether to detain “long-time lawful permanent residents, juveniles, the immediate family members of U.S. citizens, veterans, members of the armed forces and their families, and others with illnesses or special circumstances,” Daniel Ragsdale, ICE executive associate director of management, testified July 1 in the administration’s lawsuit to block Arizona’s controversial immigration law. The law requires police officers to determine the immigration status of suspects stopped for another offense if there was a “reasonable suspicion” they are in the USA illegally. A U.S. district judge has held up the provision pending review.

• A draft memo from ICE’s sister agency, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service, to Morton discussed ways the administration could adjust regulations so certain groups, such as college students and the spouses of military personnel, could legalize their status or at least avoid deportation if Congress doesn’t pass comprehensive immigration reform. USCIS rules on applications for visas, work permits and citizenship. USCIS spokesman Christopher Bentley said the memo was intended to stimulate brainstorming on how to legalize immigrants if new laws aren’t passed.

The administration’s new direction puts it at odds with those who believe the nation’s immigration laws should be strictly enforced and that all illegal immigrants should be deported.

ICE is “thumbing its nose at the law,” said Rep. Steve King of Iowa, the top Republican on the House immigration subcommittee. (Source: USA Today)

Apparently it’s easier to just ignore current law to push for reforms that aren’t needed than to enforce current law.  Simple solution – enforce the current law, build the fence and streamline the legal immigration process so it doesn’t take so long.

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Call for Congress to subpoena ICE records on releasing illegals

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As a Bolivian native faces charges for killing a nun while drunk driving, a Virginia official is calling on Congress to subpoena Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials to find out how many criminal illegal immigrants referred for deportation are released back into the communities where they were picked up.Corey Stewart, chairman of the Prince William County, Va., board of supervisors, said his county’s police referred Carlos Martinelly Montano for deportation twice in the past after he served sentences for drunk driving convictions. But immigration officials released Montano, who allegedly killed Sister Denise Mosier and injured two other nuns in the Aug. 1 accident, on his own recognizance pending a deportation hearing.

“Regardless of which side of the aisle you’re on, or on this issue, we can all agree that if you are an illegal alien and you’ve committed a crime, that you should be deported afterward,” Stewart told Fox News on Friday. “But this guy had been twice handed over to immigration officials and twice released back into the community even though there was an immigration detainer on him. And of course he’s gone right back out and committed the same crime and killed a nun.”

Stewart accused the Obama administration of a policy of “deliberately underfunding and understaffing immigration enforcement” so that officials are left without detention facilities to place illegal aliens who are awaiting deportation after serving time for criminal convictions.

“I want the Obama administration to come clean with the American people about its policy of releasing illegal aliens who localities and other law enforcement officials have identified as illegal aliens who have committed crimes, and the Obama administration is simply turning around and releasing these dangerous individuals back into neighborhoods,” Stewart said. (Source: Fox News)

Just how many illegals are released by ICE? Why aren’t they all deported?

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More illegal immigrants being deported

That is a good thing as the law should be enforced.

While ICE targets illegal immigrants who are a threat to public safety and the more severe criminals as its highest priority for deportation, other illegal immigrants who have been arrested may be deported as well, said Carl Rusnok, a spokesman for ICE.

In fiscal year 2009, ICE deported 387,790 illegal immigrants, he said. Of those 136,116 had criminal convictions, he said. One reason deportations have increased in recent years is because of “increased efficiencies,” more publicity and more information to local law enforcement about the criminal alien program, he said.

The law being enforced is apparently a problem in Milwaukee County.

“In the past few years, we have seen a disturbing trend of escalated arrests of non-criminal immigrants who, through collaboration of local law enforcement agencies and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), end up in deportation proceedings,” she wrote in a letter to Milwaukee County Board Chairman Lee Holloway and other county supervisors.

Voces has “documented dozens of cases in the past 12 months in which immigrants, arrested for traffic violations or crime for which they were later found innocent, are now facing deportation,” she wrote.

Voces also has written a separate open records request to Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. asking for records on policies, practices of the department related to the citizenship or immigration status, national origin, or places of birth of individuals held in the department’s custody and its cooperation with ICE and funding received.

Apparently groups like Voces doesn’t get that if you are here illegally, you are breaking the law which makes you a criminal.  And if you are here illegally that makes you an ILLEGAL immigrant, not an immigrant.

Kudos to Sheriff Clarke for pointing this out.

“My role in this thing is to enforce the law and not make subjective decisions,” said Clarke. “We work and cooperate with all law enforcement in sharing information.”

He explained that ICE has access to the names of everyone booked into the jail – the same information that’s available to the public and the media. He said everyone who is arrested and booked is asked for name, date of birth, place of birth, Social Security number and biographical data.

“We don’t investigate (the immigration status), we just collect the information,” he said.

“For someone to suggest we shouldn’t allow another law enforcement agency access to our information is ridiculous, but it happens,” he said.

He added: “I believe, based on things going on around the country concerning immigration, passion and emotion now have replaced logic and reason.” (Source: JSOnline)

Again the answer to the issue is simple. Enforce the law.  At the same time secure the border by building the fence.

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